As tensions between the US and North Korea continue to escalate, concerns are rising about a potential nuclear attack, despite little to no evidence of the US being in any immediate danger of such an attack. However, taking into account the widespread near-panic, Hawaii, which has been mentioned as a potential target for such an attack is now reportedly taking serious precautions.
The island state is reportedly overhauling its Cold War-era nuclear preparedness programme. Motherboard reported that although Hawaii currently has no formal nuclear evacuation and preparedness guidelines, the state's Department of Defence (DoD) has come up with a new Plan of Action and Milestones (PoAM) as part of its ballistic missile defence initiative.
The PoAM, which was provided to Motherboard via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, details how Hawaii plans to handle the threat of a potential North Korean missile attack. Although the state reportedly confirmed that a North Korean ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) could potentially reach Hawaii in 20 minutes, the DoD stressed that there is no evidence that points to an imminent threat of an attack.
"The sky is not falling," the island state's DoD said in its PoAM. The department also said that it is "researching" techniques to best protect the island's population, including "reviewing the latest scientific evidence (weapons effects, sheltering strategies, etc.) and modelling weapon impact on the island of Oahu".
The DoD is also coming up with a "public information campaign" that has not yet been drafted and will be available by the first week of June, which will be designed to educate the public about missile attacks.
The effort marks the first official upgrade to Hawaii's nuclear defence plan since the 1980s and was described by an official as "formidable and critical to the survival of our 1.4 million residents and visitors in the unlikely event of a nuclear detonation".
"Despite whom you talk to or whom you believe, as far as the nuclear delivery capabilities of North Korea, hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst is the burden of our government," the Department of Defence said.